Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Progress Update

Finally got my partial ready for the GH. I'm really excited about this book. God bless Nancy for sticking with me and not screaming over all the changes she's had to suggest.

Now I'm ready to do some power writing to get the book finished. I have about 50 days to write another 65,000 words or so. That's an average of 5 pages a day, which is what I've been doing so far. I need to get in a few 10 page days so I have some breathing space to get through birthdays and Thanksgiving, but that should be doable.

Anyone else trying to get something new ready for the GH?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Scam of the Day

If you've thought about buying on Half.com, let me give you one word of warning: DON'T! I lost nearly $50 there on a book I'd ordered for my oldest son's birthday--nearly $100 if you consider the fact that I had to buy a second copy elsewhere.

My youngest son is about to lose well over $100 on textbooks he'd ordered for school.

The way the scam artists on Half.com work is that the policies are set up in such a way that by the time you follow the proper steps, it's too late to get the charges reversed by the credit card company. And if you pay by debit card, like I did, then you're SOL because the debit card charges won't be refunded.

If my son doesn't get his money back, you're going to hear me scream all the way to court. He's a hard-working honors student, struggling to get by, and he doesn't deserve this. Just so some scum bag can make a few stolen bucks.

The only way to stop them is to get the word out. Either Half.com changes its policies, or people quit using the site.

Nitwit? Or Downright Criminal?

Read the article and decide for yourself. This might be in the UK rather than the US, but this kind of behavior shouldn't be allowed anywhere. And the reporter says the firms are investigating. What about a criminal investigation? Criminal charges? Why aren't these men being punished?

More Nitwits

We're being trained to call the cops every time someone does something we don't think is right or don't like. But the ladies of the Cat Protection division of an animal welfare charity are probably carrying things a bit too far.

But then again, you can never be too careful. A teenager who would allow one flea (yes, just one), on the cat he'd recently adopted--well, who knows what such a kid might do? The fact that he'd chosen to adopt an abandoned kitten has nothing to do with it. He allowed a flea, and he must be stopped! By brute force, if necessary. Therefore two burly cops accompanied the ladies when they returned to the boy's home to repossess the cat.

I think we should send an entire armed troop to the ladies' homes and have their pets checked.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Progress Update

Since I teamed up with a friend a week ago to write and revise 5 pages per day, I've written 35 pages, revised those same 35, and critiqued 35 for her. It's been hard, I've wanted to whine, make excuses, anything to keep from writing, but I've sucked it up and gotten it done.Better yet, I actually have an idea where this book is going instead of heading into dark waters with no life jacket.Whether it's any good or not, I have no idea. I can't judge my own work. It's kind of romantic suspense (light on romance) with a paranormal bent to it. Deciding which category to enter in the GH should be interesting.

So what are you working on? How do you make yourself get the pages done when you're tired and other responsibilities crowd you from every side?

Nitwit of the Day #3

Not just this school district, but all of them. I'm so tired of hearing about kids suspended for 10 days for a water gun (especially the little guys. Teenagers should get a butt paddling or 3 day suspension). Or the kids who get kicked out for wearing a T-shirt that says they love God or that abortion should be banned. Kids have a need to express themselves--as we all do. Since when did it become against the law to have an opinion? You can actually find yourself in jail for speaking out against sin or for speaking up for your beliefs. I guess it could be worse. In the Middle East you can get your head cut off for it.

But I thought we lived in a free country. At least, we used to. The last 5 years our thinking/government has taken a turn down a very scary road.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nitwit of the Day #2

You have to wonder about some parents. Cheerleading moms, soccer dads, and now a father who spies on a rival team so his son can score more passing yards. Yeah, that should impress any college who might have wanted to recruit his son.

What are you teaching your children? Do you teach them respect for rules and respect for others, or do you teach them that getting ahead at any cost is the right way to go? What about with your writing? Do you teach them to respect your dreams, your creative process by setting rules about interrupting you during your writing time? Or do you drop everything at the first whine and go do what they want?

I think it was Nora Roberts who said if it didn't involve blood, she didn't want to hear about it until the writing was done. (Don't quote me on that) But at some point, your kids have to learn that while they matter, so do you. You have goals, dreams, and a need to create. Yes, you love them, yes you want them to succeed, but they should return those same feelings to you.

Forget scouting the other team. Forget what everyone else is writing (yes, it sounds so much more brilliant than your idea. So what?) Forget that people are selling all around you and you're still waiting. Forget that you haven't heard diddly squat from the editor who's had your manuscript for over a year, or from the agent who's had a partial for 18 months. They don't matter! What matters is getting the words on the page, training your muse to be there when you sit down to write, and finishing that book. What matters is you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Nitwit of the Day

I think I may start a Nitwit of the Day thing here on my blog. Or not. There sure are plenty of them out there, including this judge who just made it illegal for the public to boat, fish, hunt waterfowl, etc. on public waterways. Yep. That fishing tournament your husband is signed up for, the one that cost a bundle and that you were looking forward to so you'd have 3 days alone to write? It's now illegal. Whoops.

Click on the link above to read all about it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ding-Dong! Avon Calling

No, I probably won't be showing up on your doorstep unless you live near me, but I'm now officially an Avon Representative with my very own Avon website.

After missing the last two RWA National conferences because I couldn't justify stretching our already stretched finances, I decided I needed a way to earn some money of my own until I start selling my manuscripts. If you're looking for Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers, makeup, jewelry, or any other of the myriad products Avon sells, check out my new Avon website at http://ppayne.avonrepresentative.com/ If you'll register on the site (free), you can browse the online catalog, place an order online, get free shipping, and have the items delivered directly to your door.

And in the process, help a deserving author get to Nationals. (Okay, sorry, couldn't resist)

In other news, I've teamed up with a friend to write and critique 5 pages per day from now until the GH deadline (if she can stand me that long). So far, so good. She's been a tremendous help and I've been getting my pages done. I hope I'm helping her in return.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Has it really been five years? Seems like only months ago when the greatest single tragedy to hit this country happened.

I was at home when the first plane hit. My husband was on a concrete job in Dallas. When I heard the news, I turned on the TV. It was after the second tower was hit, before the Pentagon. By the time that plane had gone down in Pennsylvania, I was in the car, racing to Dallas to pick up my daughter because I was terrified an attack would happen here as well. Mostly I think I just wanted my family close by. I kept her out of school for two days before I finally took her back. When I got home from picking her up, I sat down at the computer and wrote a poem that ended up being published in the local paper, surrounded by names of dozens of businesses who had paid $10 each to have their name there.

It took me a long time to feel "safe" again. The lack of planes in the sky really shook me, as did the sound of planes once they were allowed back. I still feel for those who lost loved ones that day, for the children who lost their innocence. I've posted a copy of that poem below. No, it wasn't particularly good, but it was fueled by the emotion of the moment.

Freedom 911

A moment forever frozen in time
In all of our hearts and all of our minds
As we watched with horror what a few evil men
Can do with hatred and evil intent.

So many emotions filled us that day
Stunned disbelief, anguish, anger, and pain.
Our minds as clouded as New York's city streets
We could only pray and tremble and weep.

We waited for news of loved ones so dear
And listened to stories of bravery and fear.
We cried with the mothers and fathers and wives
We grieve for the children who want to know why.

How can we answer their questions when we,
as adults never dreamed how evil mankind could be?
So we hold our own close, so glad they are safe
And ask God to surround them with angels each day.

Then we lift our heads high and stand firm and tall
As we proclaim to the world that our country won't fall.
We stand united, red, black, white and brown.
And say you can't keep America down.

We'll see these men punished for what they have done,
No stone left unturned till we've found every one.
We'll pray for our soldiers as they fight and they win,
Then we'll put it behind us and build once again.

But we'll never forget the ones who were lost
in airplanes and buildings, we've counted the cost.
We'll mourn and grieve the heroes once more,
and emerge even stronger than ever before.

God bless America, this land of the free
May you always reign righteous and always believe
In the Almighty God who holds us upright
And ever continue, for our freedom, to fight.

Pamela J. Payne
September 11, 2001

Monday, September 04, 2006

What makes a good mother?

On one of my lists, we've been talking about whether or not we were/are good mothers. We've discovered that none of us lived up to our own expectations.

I always thought, growing up, that I’d be a great mother. I was wrong. I didn’t spend my days down on the floor playing CandyLand or Barbie with my daughters, or Battleship with my sons.

Well, okay, I did once in a while, but in my mind a great mother would do this all day, every day. And somehow, along the way, she would keep the house spotless, the laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away. Dinner would be on the table at six on the dot, perfectly cooked, perfectly balanced nutritionally. The kids would get baths every night and would go straight to bed with no fuss after the perfect mother read them two bedtime stories. And she would never, ever forget to make them brush their teeth.

That my children’s teeth have fillings is a silent testimony to the fact that I wasn’t a great mother. Somehow, in spite of my less-than-perfect mothering, the kids turned out all right. Except for the baby, of course, who is totally gorgeous, exceptionally smart, independent, caring---and thinks it will take the rest of her life in therapy to undo the damage I did. I look at her and think, if I’d had half the strength of character she has at that age, there’s no telling what I might have accomplished.

My kids deserved better. But then I stop and think. Did it ever occur to them that maybe mom yelled because she was stressed because they all had things they needed me to do, and that there were three other children and a husband who had their own demands and expectations, and I was trying my damnedest to hold it all together, and there were times when I felt like I was being pulled apart, like I was going to split into a half-dozen pieces?

And on top of my children’s problems I kept trying to solve, I had my own problems. I’d had a bout with cancer that made me worry and fret until I descended into depression no one else recognized. Then my father came down with lung cancer and the depression deepened. He passed away, and I felt like I'd lost my anchor. It was at the worst possible time for my youngest kids. They needed their mother, and she didn't have enough emotional fortitude to pull herself out of the mire to meet their emotional needs. All I wanted was for the world to go away and leave me alone.

So, does all that make me a bad mother? I never sold my kids into prostitution like some mothers have. I didn't scald them in the bath, beat them senseless, starve them in a closet. I did try to make sure they went to good schools, tried my best to keep them safe, instilled in them a love of reading, tried to control their television exposure as much as I could. I took them to church (at least until the depression got too bad), even started my own Christian school to give them the best start in life that I could. When they were little I worked at jobs where they could be with me instead of establishing myself in a career that would have kept my husband and I out of the mess we're in now. I loved them more than life itself and at any point would have given up my life for theirs if necessary.

I've prayed for each of them since before they were born. No, they haven't always made the right choices, but they've always known that the choice they were about to make might not be the best one. And when they made the wrong choice, they fixed it. They backed up and started over, sometimes at great personal and emotional cost.

Yes, I have a lot of regrets. I regret not spending enough one on one time with them when I had the chance. I regret not listening when they needed me to listen, not give advice. I regret missed opportunities. But I don't regret the people they have come to be. They're wonderful, bright, witty, mature men and women. None have ever been in jail, they aren't thieves or drug addicts, they respect others, they study hard and do well in school.

So was I great mother? Maybe not, but that's what we decided on the lists. We might not have been the best mothers, but we did our best with what we had to work with, and the kids turned out all right.